One of the difficulties with being visually impaired is that sometimes people don’t think I can speak for myself. When I am out to eat with someone or as part of a group, sometimes the other person will be asked what I am intending to order. I have a way to prevent this from happening that works pretty well. When the server comes to take our orders, I often order before anyone else. This takes away any chance that my company will be asked what I want to eat. It also saves the server some embarrassment because nobody is going to tell him/her to ask me instead of them.
Because I want to speak for myself, I also think it only fair that I let other people speak for themselves. I try not to presume I know what someone else is going to say be they my closest relatives, my best friends, co-workers, new acquaintances or aliens from another planet. I don’t always succeed and when I do fail it is often in the same way.
For some reason I still have a problem when it comes to letting women speak for themselves to me. That might sound weird or like I’m sexist or something and while the first is probably true the latter is definitely not true. It is just that some times, in order to reduce the chances of being rejected, I will just assume what a woman’s answer is going to be and thus never ask the question in the first place. If I don’t really ask she can’t turn me down. I can honestly say that I was never rejected by a girl I had a crush on when I was young because I never gave them the chance.
When I was younger, the problem was much worse. Sometimes I wouldn’t ask my parents for things I wanted because if I didn’t then they couldn’t turn me down. A fear of being rejected has always been a part of my life and it really did stunt my growth in a lot of ways.
Things are not as bad for me in this area as they used to be. I decided in 2012 that being rejected when asking women out on dates wasn’t the worst thing that could happen to me. Honestly, in some cases, the worst thing that could have happened is that they could have said yes. But 2012 was the year I really came out of my skin in this area and I am going to write about that a little more in April because that is when things really started to happen for me.
I still feel bad when I realize that I have denied someone the right to speak for themselves. I felt so guilty about doing it earlier this week that I had to essentially fess up and explain to the person what had happened. The fact that they may never have even noticed that I was essentially speaking for them by assuming they would answer me in a certain way didn’t really matter. I felt guilty about it anyway and wanted to make it right.
So speak for yourself. If you want something don’t be afraid to ask for it. You can miss on a lot of things if you let your paranoya take hold. I’m someone that speaks from experience. I never went to prom and didn’t have my first real date until I was 22 years old. Not being involved with women, even as close friends, until so late in life set me back quite a bit. I still kind of feel awkward around women and am not sure if or when that feeling is ever going to go away completely. Speak for yourself and be your own best advocate.